In the "short bowel" syndrome, the segment of small intestine which remains may compensate functionally for the portion which has been lost.1,2 The initial period of diarrhea and steatorrhea which ordinarily follows massive small bowel resection gradually improves.3 Epithelial cell hyperplasia of the villi4 and increased absorption of nutrients have been described in the remaining segments of gut after massive bowel resections.2-5
This study extends the observations of functional adaptation by demonstrating in four patients with massive small bowel resection an increased absorption of water and sodium per unit length of intestine by the remaining bowel.
Materials and Methods
The intestinal absorption of water and sodium were studied in four patients with massive small bowel resections (Table) and in six control subjects with intact bowel. Informed consent was obtained from all patients.The subjects fasted overnight for 12 hours and then a triple lumen polyvinyl tube